Under the leadership of Secretary Ray LaHood, the U.S. Department of Transportation has continued its commitment to making the U.S. transportation systems the safest in the world, while creating more affordable and reliable transportation options for hardworking American families.
Safety is DOT’s primary mission. Secretary LaHood created the U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Council to identify and address the top safety issues that cut across all DOT agencies and to ensure an even stronger safety culture throughout the department. DOT launched an aggressive national campaign in 2009 to end the dangerous practice of distracted driving, and specifically texting and cell phone use behind the wheel. In 2009, only 18 states had laws against texting and driving. Today, 39 states, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands ban texting while driving, and 10 states, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands ban all hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel.
DOT has made major improvements and investments in our nation’s infrastructure. DOT provides States, metropolitan areas and transit agencies approximately $40 billion annually to maintain 4 million lane miles of local roads, state highways, and interstate highways across America. Over the past four years, DOT has awarded $5.4 billion to rehabilitate runways, taxiways, and aprons at 1,115 airports around the country. Since 2009, DOT investments in rail have constructed or improved 6,500 miles of rail corridors and upgraded 40 stations. The Department has also invested $7.9 billion to help build major new transit rail and bus infrastructure projects across 13 cities in 10 states since 2009. DOT has also awarded 129 Small Shipyard Grants to shipyards in 77 cities along the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes and Inland Waterways, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam during the first Obama Administration.
Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, DOT has provided $3.1 billion to 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming. Over four rounds, DOT received more than 4,050 applications requesting more than $105.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.
Livable and sustainable communities have also been a focus of DOT over the past four years – putting all travelers on equal footing, whether they get behind the wheel of a car or put on a pair of walking shoes. DOT has supported states and communities in their efforts to give citizens a wider array of transportation options, including high speed and intercity passenger rail, streetcars and comprehensive walking and biking paths. As a result of DOT’s efforts, people are back at work building these transportation networks and improving America’s roads, bridges, airports, transit systems and railways. DOT has made great strides over the past four years in safety improvements and infrastructure investments working towards President Barack Obama’s vision of an America built to last.
Over the last four years, Secretary LaHood has traveled to all 50 states, 211 cities, and 18 countries. He has testified before Congress 40 times.